The Korea Herald


[Editorial] Job inheritance

Companies should reform recruitment practices

By 백희연

Published : March 30, 2016 - 18:07

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The Ministry of Employment and Labor has found that a quarter of the nation’s corporations still have “job inheritance arrangements” set out in their collective bargaining agreements.

The ministry recently examined the collective bargaining agreements of 2,769 corporations with more than 100 workers on their payrolls.

It found that the bargaining agreements of 694 companies contained a clause that either required management to hire the children or family members of former workers who had died or retired due to industrial accidents, or stipulated the provision of recruitment favors to the children of long-serving employees.

In 2013, the district court in Ulsan nullified a provision in Hyundai Motor’s collective bargaining agreement that required the company to hire the children or family members of industrial accident victims.

The court said the clause ran afoul of labor laws by encroaching upon the employer’s intrinsic right to hire the employees it wants. It also noted that the provision went against the notion of social justice.

The ministry’s latest survey shows that despite the court’s unequivocal ruling, many companies have not abolished their clauses on job inheritance in their collective bargaining agreements.

The ministry said it would give management and labor unions a chance to voluntarily rewrite their collective bargaining agreements. To companies that do not remove the illegal provision voluntarily, the ministry will have regional labor committees issue a correction order. Companies that ignore the order will be slapped with a fine of up to 5 million won ($4,400).

Companies also need to stop giving recruitment favors to the children of retired or long-serving employees, a practice that is far less justifiable than the privileges given to the children of industrial accident victims.

Job inheritance arrangements should be abolished as they deprive many young job seekers of employment opportunities. In February, the jobless rate among young Koreans reached 12.5 percent, the highest figure since 1999, when related data was first compiled.

Trade unions should stop demanding recruitment privileges for their children, as it puts other job applicants at a disadvantage.

Companies also need to reform their unfair recruitment practices. While abolishing job inheritance arrangements for the children of their employees, they also need to stop hiring the children of powerful politicians or high-ranking government officials.

Instead, they should embrace competency-based recruitment systems based on the National Competency Standards, which is a more open and transparent way of hiring employees.